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Using data from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD), we employed a cross-lagged model to examine the temporal order of the relationship between PYD and youths' spirituality. Our sample consisted of 1,842 youth from 32 states in the continental United States. Mean age across the two waves of data used in this study was 15.5 and 16.6, respectively. The cross-lagged model allowed us to test the model suggesting that youth must develop certain abilities (e.g., Cs of PYD) prior to constructing and internalizing abstract notions of spirituality. Findings supported this argument, with relations varying across conceptions of spirituality. This study provides a more comprehensive understanding of mechanisms and processes linking youths' spirituality and PYD, highlighting several important implications for research and practice.

Original publication




Journal article


J Res Adolesc

Publication Date





345 - 356


Adolescent, Adolescent Development, Attitude, Female, Humans, Models, Psychological, Psychology, Adolescent, Spirituality, Time Factors